Possibility of holding council elections before Ramadan

Elections Commissioner Ahmed Shareef Adam has stated that the long-delayed local council elections can be held before the month of Ramadan if legal amendments are made before the end of this month.

The council elections were originally planned to be held during April 2020. However, the election was postponed after a State of Public Health Emergency was declared in the Maldives due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A sunset law was passed by the Parliament last year to address the legal issues that arose due to the delay in holding the election. According to the law, the election has to be held within a year of ratifying the law. Therefore, the election has to be held before May 9th this year.

While the Elections Commission was working to hold the election this March, the election can no longer be held in March due to the extension of the State of Public Health Emergency declared in the Maldives, as per the commission.

In an interview given to state TV, PSM News, Shareef the commission is working very had to ensure that the election is held as soon as possible. Discussions are ongoing with the revelant authorities, said Shareef.

Shareef said the reason behind further delays are some provisions included in the sunset law that was passed to delay the election.

One of the provisions state that the Health Protection Agency, HPA has to declare that a State of Public Health Emergency no longer exists. Therefore, amendments have to be brought to the law, said Shareef. The necessary amendments can only be brought through the Parliament, and the next Parliament meeting is scheduled for February 4th. Therefore, an extraordinary sitting of the Parliament is necessary to bring changes to the law before that, said Shareef.

In this regard, the changes have to be brought and ratified before the end of the current month, and if the Parliament fails to do so, the election can only be held after Ramadan, said Shareef.